Please note my 2300 word account of the carnage in the Newbury betting ring Saturday 16th May when Ryan Moore rode a five-timer will appear exclusively in the next issue of Racing Ahead Magazine http://racingahead.net/
My blogs will be posted here on my main site from now on but my archive going back several years can be read at https://simonnottracing.wordpress.com/
One incident before racing that was quite incredible. A young lady working for the racecourse made the effort to find a venerable member of the press contingent up on the top floor. She inquired into if he was present, he was, tucking into a nice sandwich. She then asked if he’d lost a wallet. He did a check and indeed he had. She handed the lost item back to him and said she’d found it down by the horse walk. Those present waited for said wallet to be opened and some sort of reward and a hearty thank you to follow. Those present were left gobsmacked as all the poor girl got was a gruff ‘There’s not a lot in it anyway’ with a half-heated thanks. As she left, no doubt questioning why she bothered, the rest in earshot were treated to how hard it is to manage on just three pensions. I imagine it would be harder with a lost wallet and all it contained. Sometimes people are unfathomable. Anyway, less of the negative…..
‘What do they know that we don’t know’ smiled one of the come rain or shine Kempton bookies as he scanned down the rail of 11 who had turned up. It may not have been like Boxing Day but there was a decent crowd for the bookies to accommodate. The field of 10 already reduced to eight was trimmed further when Quadriga broke out of the stalls and was withdrawn reducing it to seven leaving a 10p Rule 4 and now payment on only two places in its wake. All that explaining isn’t great with a largely novice crowd.
It’s doubtful the novice punters were on the winner Embankment in the 32Red Casino Handicap (London Mile Series Qualifier) unless they had a guess-up though. It was backed from 11/1 into 8/1 prior to the withdrawal and returned 7/1, Given that it had been 20 runs since its last win and finished 11th of 12 in its last outing at Salisbury a couple of weeks ago it’s also doubtful that many form students came up with the winner either. Win it did though coming with a spectacular late rattle to collar 5/2 jolly Windy Citi close home rewarding those behind the touch for their lateral reading of the form book skills.
I expected to find despondent bookies down in the ring after being tucked up but there was none of it. ‘They backed it on the Internet not so much here’ smiled one nonplussed layer before adding, ‘So we don’t mind’ Another, possibly charitably, pointed out that the winner had ‘Not trapped well’ previously so could be excused finding a bit of form this time. In any event the favourite getting caught was a popular result regardless of the punt.
The second of six races, the 32Red On The App Store Maiden Stakes boasted 13 runners after the defection of Naughty Spice. Two were sent off at 9/4 joint favourites, Tumbaga and Tuca and both had been backed on course to at least three figures and they finished first and second in that order. It wasn’t so smiley on the rails after that one.
If I was to say that there was no crowing after the next, the 10 Free Bet At 32RedSport.com Handicap, I’d be lying. That would be a bit of a surprise too because 11/4 favourite Exchequer had just won. So why the crowing? Well you may ask. It was from one of the new, old, faces that had turned up to bet unexpectedly at the ‘wrong’ end of the rails. ‘Aye Aye’ he hollered evidently not auditioning for any popularity test adding the killer blow to his brethren with an unlikely loud boast of ‘Another winning race’. There didn’t seem to be too much attention paid to him by the rest of the rails. Mind you that was probably because they were busy paying out ever-growing queues of successful punters.
It was a dead-eight that contested the 32Red.com Handicap (London Middle Distance Series Qualifier) with very tight betting opening 5/2 the field. That soon changed when sustained support came in for Dannyday and the Stoute/Moore combination eventually returning 13/8f. The colt certainly did its best to reward supporters but his best was sadly for them not good enough only managing third behind 10/1 Sonnolento. Silver linings and all that, of course if the result’s bad for the punters it’s good for the ring . One back for the bookies with two races to go. Yes I know, only six races at Kempton, that is unusual. The previously loud bookmaker had gone a bit quiet, maybe finding it a bit tougher than envisaged getting it right every time.
The penultimate spot was reserved for the feature race the 32RedSport.com Handicap for which 10 went to post. Hardly the ideal time for the heavens to open then, well that’s an exaggeration, it rained a bit. The mushes were soon up with the speed and agility that befits seasoned professionals and with little more ado the ring got to work. The rain didn’t last long but the brollies stayed up. Doctor Sardonicus was backed from 5/2 into 9/4f. I am assuming that the David Simcock-trained gelding is named after the villain from the 1961 horror film. The ‘hero’ lives in a castle and hides behind a mask. Without wishing to spoil the story of what is one of my favourite films of the genre the gimmick was that two endings had been made. A good one and a bad one for Sardonicous, who it has to be said wasn’t the nicest. The audience had to vote at the end of the film. Of course they all voted for the bad guy to get his just deserts. It’s actually said the the happy ending was never made, and so it was to be with his namesake, at least in the this race managing only third behind 16/1 winner Tagula Night.
The lucky last, as called by at least one bookmaker on the rails, evidently buoyed by the last two results, was the iInsure365 Handicap worth £2279 to the winner and contested by 11 runners. The market was headed by Fredric Chopin which opened at 13/8 before being smashed into 5/4 but with shrapnel rather than heavy punting artillery. Commentator Mark Johnson did a good job of calling the jolly in trouble in running for most of the race. That no doubt gee’d the bookies up that they were in for the icing on the evening’s cake with another result. It was not to be, the favourite came with a smooth run when it got the cutaway and won by just under a length landing the gamble. Hardly music to the bookies’ ears.
All those winning bets in shrapnel and small notes must have seemed to take an age to pay out especially with the punters all grinning like Sardonicous. Nasty. On the plus side the racecourse did a great job getting a decent crowd in so all bodes well for the summer. Aye Aye.
(c) Simon Nott
My (Award Nominated but sadly unplaced) book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews.
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